Marnie (1964)

Drama, Mystery, Romance, Thriller
Tippi Hedren, Sean Connery, Diane Baker, Martin Gabel
Mark marries Marnie although she is a habitual thief and has serious psychological problems, and tries to help her confront and resolve them.
  • MCA Universal Home Video Company:
  • PG Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 22 Jul 1964 Released:
  • 30 May 2000 DVD Release:
  • N/A Box office:
  • Winston Graham, Jay Presson Allen Writer:
  • Alfred Hitchcock Director:
  • N/A Website:

All subtitles:

Trailer:

MARNIE is the most freudian of Hitchcock's thrillers,5/10

Much more so than VERTIGO, which,even though it deals with one man's neurosis, is a classic "whodunit". Jimmy Stewart's coming to grips with his fear of heights at the end of VERTIGO is merely an icing of suspense on an otherwise well baked murder mystery. In MARNIE, on the other hand, Hitchcock deals with the deeper, darker side of Marnie's psycho-sexual illness. Mark Rutland's (Sean Connery)constant probing into Marnie's (Tippi Hedren) persona takes on the role of psychotherapy complete with word association games and sound cues that shake Marnie's subconscious. In one scene Rutland is even seen reading "Psycho-sexual Behavior in the Criminal Mind." Strange night-time reading material for a handsome, newly married businessman of a certain wealth. In the end, there is a complete pyscho-catharsis as Marnie remembers the traumatic night when as a child she killed the sailor (Bruce Dern), thus unleashing a lifetime of criminal psychosis.

Hitchcock's direction is masterful in its depth of portrayal of Freud's "Interpretation of Dreams." The scene in which Marnie experiences a nightmare at the Rutland manse is a perfect example. As the dream begins, the set is that of her mother's house during a stormy night when her mother's clients came rapping on the door. Marnie awakens, however, in the plush bedroom of the Rutland residence. Hitchcock's camera takes us into the criminal unconscious and then exits into an opulent, satin covered reality gone psychotic. This insight helps us to see the troubled Marnie in a sympathetic light. Hedren's awesome acting talent underscores this as at times she emotes a little lost child persona. This is very true to character since emotionally, Marnie's development stopped that night when as a child attempted to save her mother.

From the beginning of the film, Hedren's portrayal of Marnie is pregnant with a little girl's search for maternal love and approval. At the end of the film, Rutland's explanation of Marnie's life of theft as the compensatory behavior of an unloved child is simplistic and amateurish from a psychiatric viewpoint. However, it works for the audience Hitchcock is trying to touch, and it is reminiscent of the doctor's pedantic and sophomoric review of Norman's psychosis in PSYCHO, a horror film rife with simplistic freudian interpretation. On a deeper level, Hitchcock takes us on a journey through one woman's Electra Complex as Marnie's euthanasia of a horse with a broken leg symbolically foreshadows the final scene in which Marnie's new-found memory of the horrible night serves to "kill" her psychotic ties to her mother's past. Now in the paternal yet comforting arms of her husband, Mark, Marnie's life as a grown woman is sure to take a turn for the better. Her fears of going to prison are the only vestige to a child's traumatic past.


Freud, Hitchcock, Sex and Suspense5/10

Hitchcock's Marnie was a critical and financial failure when released in 1964. Some decades afterwards, the film was 'rediscovered' by film theorists fascinated by its engagement with issues such as Freudian psychoanalysis, sexual abuse, gender roles, trauma, sexual deviance.

The central plot revolves around Marnie, a habitual thief who goes to work for large corporations, steals from her (always male) boss, then flees - dying her hair, changing her name and then starting over again.

One employer, Mark Rutland, recognises her from one of her previous companies. When she robs him, he pursues and marries her. Playing Freud to her Jane, he alternates between trying to get her into bed and determining the link between her thefts and her fear of sex, thunder storms, the colour red and men.

Tippi Hedren is ideally suited for the role of Marnie; her trembling-but-firm voice and impassive, doll-like face give her the look and feel of a tough-yet-vulnerable child-woman, lost in a nightmare world. Sean Connery is terrific as

Rutland, and the interaction between his character and Marnie suggests (at times) a slight subversion of gender roles. She may be troubled, but she won't easily fall under his net (he likens her to a wild animal) - and will tell him!

Throughout the film, there is a brilliant use of colour, and some memorably dreamlike shots: the opening of Marnie (her face unseen) with black hair, walking as if in a daze along a railway platform and through a hotel; the hand banging against a window, alarming the sleeping Marnie; the flashback to the woman's troubled past.

Unfortunately - and other reviewers on IMDb have argued this - the film's editing is often lazy. Some scenes go on for far too long, and are way too chatty. More show and less tell, I say! There are those fake backdrops. They can be seen to suggest Marnie's detachment from the world (as Hitch once argued), but why couldn't he include them with every shot of her? Laziness, again?

Then there's Lil, the sister of Mark's dead wife. Diane Baker gives a terrific performance, and there is the suggestion that Lil's attraction to her former brother-in-law might be deceptive... it could be Marnie she's after. Just check out the look she gives Marnie when they first meet and her remark ('Who's that Dish'?) But the lesbian subtext is never explored. Lil's character is never developed beyond a woman who alternates between smiling and scowling at Marnie, and then disappearing before the dramatic 'final confession'.

Otherwise, a brave film, elegant to look at, and rich with issues for the film theorist AND the 'casual' viewer to explore.
An underrated masterpiece!5/10

When Marnie was first released it was (quite unfairly) dismissed by critics. It has since been come to be known as one of Hitchcock's great films though. Tippi Hedren stars as Marnie. She is a liar and a thief. She has stolen large amounts of money from her employers on various occasions. Things start to change as she begins to work for the dashing Mark Rutland though. He becomes romantically interested in her but not wanting to get close to anybody she decides to steal the money and escape as quickly as she can. However, Mark catches her red handed and he gives her the choice of marrying him or being held accountable for her crimes. She chooses to marry him but he comes to find out that she can't stand to be touched by any man. He realizes that she has a deep seated problem from her past and that he must now help her to confront this. Marnie is a wonderful film and it is very underrated. A lot of people have watched it and it has gone over their heads therefore leading to the underrated status. It is much the same with Tippi Hedren's performance. Even though it is brilliant alot of people cannot see how wonderful it really is. Sean Connery is also very good.

It is really too bad that some people can't see Marnie for the masterpiece that it is. It's really quite pointless to call Marnie a "flawed" film as well. If Marnie is truly watched intelligently you will see that this is not the case. Marnie deserves far more credit than it gets. If you watch it I hope that you enjoy it as much as I have.

5 stars / 5 stars
Great, Genius9/10

Marnie is a misunderstood masterpiece from the Hitchcock. Often cited as an example of a messy, flawed genius - it can be off putting to some since its quite talky. However stick with it and you will be intrigued and itching to discover all about Marnie (contrary to what most say, played with understated brilliance from Tippi Hedren).

The direction and cinematography is exceptional with Hitchcock and his usual crew i.e. Rob Burks etc on form. The atmosphere generated (apart from being 'Hitchcocky') is unique, dark, gloomy and at times akin to a horror film, yet it is utterly appealing and compelling. Theres an almost creepy, artificial humanless feel to proceedings as a result of the direction and how the actors have been directed to act as is briefly highlighted by a Hitchcock scholar in the documentary on the disk. Hitchcock knows the art of cinema, no flashy fast cuts or fast moving camera's as we see nowadays, but measured, inspired direction laced with flourishes of creative genius (thats Hithcock for you). Atmosphere, emotion is built up like poetry. Witness for example some moments of genius such as the final revelation, in what is one of Hitchcocks most underrated, powerful and shocking pieces of direction; the riding sequence which culminates in Marnies fantastic yet disturbing line of dialogue, " there there....", and also sinister momnets such as when Marnies mother wakes here from her nightmare- her voice disturbingly artificial in its lack of emotion and empathy for a clearly distraught Marnie.

Speaking of the mother, Louise Latham -the actress behind the role effortlessly steals the show from an already superb Hedren and Connery. Latham eleicits an absolutely breathtaking performance. Her character is frighteningly creepy, tragic, powerful and marvellously played to keep up the suspense and intrigue. You don't know what to make of the character except of the fact she knows or has played a part in Marnies psychological condition. In fact I would go as far as to say it is one of the greatest performances in a Hitchcock picture - an example of genius casting. Similarly her character is arguably the greatest 'mother' character in any Hitchcock film beating Pyscho and Notorious' madame Sebastion.

Marnie is a truly great picture and definetly Hitchcocks last great although Frenzy is a nice enough distraction. Not as good as Vertigo or Rear Window but certainly up there in the higher echelons of Hitchcocks work.


9/10
Yet another underrated Hitchcock8/10

The rumors surrounding Marnie - the last in an amazing run of truly great Hitchcock movies that lasted from 1950-1964 - are plentiful. All of them consist of director Alfred Hitchcock's growing obsession for Tippi Hedrin (who starred in The Birds one year earlier). By the end of the movie, Hitchcock would not talk to Hedrin or even refer to her by name (this following a supposed failed pass at Hedrin), and his friends say Marnie was the last movie Hitchcock truly cared about.

Regardless of the rumors, Marnie was a box-office failure and went unnoticed until recently when DVD brought back Hitchcock's unremarkable films, along with his classics. And behold, from the ashes ariseth... Marnie.

Starring Hedrin as Marnie and Sean Connery as the man who falls in love with her, this movie tells of a compulsive thief and pathalogical liar who is caught by Connery and blackmailed into marrying him. Connery finds that Hedrin has incredible fears of red and thunderstorms, refuses to let men touch her and has disturbing dreams brought on by knocks at her door. Connery must play the dual role of keeping Marnie away from the police while trying to find out why she does what she does.

This is indeed an excellent Hitchcock film. He reminds the audience that he did start out directing silent movies, and uses this silence very well in the robbery/cleaning lady scene. The moments leading up to Marnie's revealing flashback are incredible, and the movie reeks of typical Hitchcock: slow, methodic pacing to a brilliant and stunning climax.

Marnie is not a patented "Hitchcock classic": The fades-to-red have not aged well (if they ever did look good), the horse-riding scenes just don't work, and the backgrounds are obviously fake (although it has been speculated that Hitchcock did this on purpose -- whatever the case he later regretted it). But the basic premise, the acting, the directing are all top notch and have turned Marnie into another of the "Underrated Hitchcock"s.

8/10